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Oceania Military Guide

Melanesia
  • Fiji
  • New Caledonia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands
  • Vanuatu
  • Polynesia
  • American Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Easter Island
  • French Polynesia
  • Niue
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Wallis And Futuna
  • Western Samoa
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United States
  • Micronesia
  • Guam
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Marshall Islands, Republic
  • Micronesia, Federated States




  • In George Orwell's 1984 Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. The wars of Eurasia, Eastasia, and Oceania never existed.

    Oceania is a vast area of the Central and Western Pacific Ocean that includes the state of Hawaii, a number of U.S. territories, and the many small island nations that make up Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia, an area of roughly 15 million square miles. THE SHEER SIZE of Oceania is impressive, as is the scope of the region's contrasts. The Pacffic is the biggest and deepest of the world's oceans and is the earth's largest single geographic feature. It occupies more than one-third of the globe's surface, an area greater than all of the world's landmasses lumped together. Within the Pacific region there are about 25,000 islands, more than one-half of the world's total. The discrepancy between land and sea, however, is great. Collectively, the islands comprise somewhat more than 1.6 million square kilometers, but those islands are set in a sea area of more than 88 million square kilometers. The Pacffic stretches approximately 16,000 kilometers along the equator, and the north-to-south expanse from the Bering Strait to the Antarctic Circle is about 15,000 kilometers.

    Pacific Island Countries (PICs) provide little deterrence to illegal activity in their EEZs. None of the Micronesian Countries (MICs) have a military and their police have very limited capabilities. Improved coordination of enforcement operations is a key priority to enhance maritime security in the region, as well as the urgent need for a comprehensive capability needs assessment, improvements in governance, deeper community engagement in maritime security initiatives, and the need to leverage key regional and international meetings to raise awareness of Pacific Ocean security concerns.

    Fiji's coup in 2006 was its fourth in 20 years. It has led to a worrying decline in standards of governance in Fiji and is also impacting upon the nation's economic health as the country's economy responds to political turmoil. Since 2003, Australia has provided both security and governance support to the Government of the Solomon Islands, following on from a period when ethnic tensions boiled over and made the proper operation of government untenable. Elsewhere, the riots in Vanuatu in 2007 and Tonga in 2006 highlight the sometimes fragile security situation in otherwise peaceful countries.

    Micronesian economies are not diverse and are reliant on fishing. The islands of Micronesia are small and have little arable land (less than 10%) so that agriculture is mostly subsistence farming, although there is some copra production. Mineral wealth is limited to high-grade phosphate on some islands, and Palau has a small amount of gold. Palau also has a small tourism industry. There is limited infrastructure in Micronesia. Populations of MICs are small; the FSM has the largest population at 107,862. The FSM has the highest GDP at $277 million (including grants). Per capita GDP in Micronesia is less than $3,000, except on Palau where it is $7,600.

    Melanesia is that part of the Southwest Pacific, northeast of Australia around Borneo. Melanesia, meaning the "black islands," derives from the word melanin, which is the chemical in the skin that accounts for dark pigmentation—a characteristic shared by Melanesians. The islands that are clearly Melanesian are, from west to east: the entire island of New Guinea and its outliers to the east; the Solomon Islands; New Caledonia; and the islands that make up Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides). Fiji is usually included as part of Melanesia.

    Melanesia was a large staging ground for the Pacific Campaign in World War II. There were a lot of American bases there. The Melanesians were Stone Age peoples. With the tremendous influx of the American servicemen and their technology and their food, they very quickly adopted many Western ways. And then, when the Americans just as quickly pulled out, it left them without the basis of their traditional culture. Some people cleared whole stretches of jungle to make dirt runways. They carved rifles out of sticks, formed up into platoons and marched up and down in the jungle to make planes come and bring cargo. Hence, the whole notion of cargo cults.

    Polynesia ("many islands") is geographically the largest of the Pacific's cultural areas, and distances between island groups are by far the greatest. Polynesia is defined as a triangle drawn from Hawaii in the north, Easter Island in the southeast, and New Zealand in the southwest. However, the western leg of the triangle between New Zealand and Hawaii cannot be a straight line. Using a bit of license, the cartographer must make the line bulge to the west to include Tuvalu (formerly the Ellice Islands) with the rest of Polynesia.

    Oceania is one of the last remaining profitable tuna fisheries in the world. The United Nations (UN) reports that sixty four percent of the total world catch of the principal market tuna species were taken from the Pacific in 2003 and that 11 million tons of fish weretaken from the Western Central Pacific in 2004. But, Pacific fishery managers are concerned that their waters will be targeted by increasing numbers of illegal fishers using moresophisticated methods.

    Australia, New Zealand, France and the U.S. meet regularly at Quadrilateral Defense Coordination Talks to discuss maritime security assistance issues and efforts in Oceania. There are no specific engagement or security assistance activities described for Oceaniain the PACOM Theater Security Cooperation Plan (TSCP). After the UNCLOS established the authority for coastal states to extend exclusiveeconomic rights from 12nm out to 200nm in 1982, Australia and New Zealand assessed themaritime patrol needs of PICs and determined that PICs had unsuitable or no patrol assets toprotect these expanded rights, or EEZs. In response, Australia created a Defence Cooperation Project (DCP) that delivered patrol boats, associated infrastructure and crew training to PICs. The program is run by the Pacific Patrol Boat (PPB) Systems Project Office of the Royal Australian Navy.

    China

    A secure Micronesia protects sea lines of communication between the U.S. and Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. They form anouter barrier of protection for Guam and the Hawaiian Islands, and are home to critical forwardbases of military operations and a vital ballistic missile tracking facility as the Pacific Rim risesin importance.

    But ".... as China opened three decades ago, an estimated 200,000 Chinese migrants left the mainland to settle in the fragilely governed, economically moribund South Pacific islands. Over the intervening years those migrants prospered, though at the same time they resisted cultural assimilation, establishing thriving, culturally separate “Chinatowns” and ethnically exclusive business networks.... But as the old political and economic order shifts, disenfranchised native islanders are growing resentful, harboring deep-seated suspicions of the “new” Chinese arrivals. Given the right trigger, this simmering racial tension explodes into extreme violence. In 2006, rioters in Honiara, the Solomon Islands’ capital, burned 97 percent of the local Chinatown district. The same year, race riots in the Tongan Island archipelago left eight dead, and in the capital city of Nuku’alofa, much of the Chinese-dominated business district was destroyed. In Papua New Guinea, anti-Chinese rioting, reportedly involving tens of thousands of people, broke out in May 2009.... Modern precedent is set; when U.S. or Western nationals are threatened, U.S. Marines inevitably appear off the coast to provide security assistance ... The United States and the international community can only expect a concomitant response when Chinese citizens overseas are endangered. ... At present, nothing is in place to dissuade China from transforming an operation to protect Chinese nationals into an annexation..."

    Climate Change

    Climate change is the greatest threat to Pacific Island countries. Donald Trump dismissed climate change as a hoax during his election campaign and vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. Trump repeatedly said during his campaign that climate change was a hoax created by China.

    The Pacific Community said 22 November 2016 the election of Trump caused concern in the region over the United States' commitment to fighting climate change. However, the director general of the Pacific Community or SPC, Colin Tukuitonga, said he expects to continue working with the US to mitigate climate change in the region. "I think it's important to point out that the USA is a founding member of SPC and has been with us since 1947 and we expect to continue the good work that has been done with the support of the US government both in climate change and other areas".

    The countries taking part in the January 2017 Tokyo meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum included the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. In the context of sustainable development, Pacific island countries were also seeking Japan's support through the World Bank for an expansion of the definition of "fragility" to include vulnerability to climate change, economic equity, access, and geographical and environmental challenges.



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